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Movie Review

The Kingdom a.k.a. “Kingdom,” “Top Dog,” “Krallik,” “Operation: Kingdom,” “Le Royaume,” “La Sombra del reino”

MPAA Rating: R for intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language

Reviewed by: Rachelle Smotherman
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Thriller, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
September 28, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

War in the Bible

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

Featuring: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, Ali Suliman, Jeremy Piven, Richard Jenkins, Tim McGraw, Kyle Chandler, Frances Fisher, Danny Huston, Kelly AuCoin, Anna Deavere Smith, Minka Kelly, more »
Director: Peter Berg
Producer: Universal Pictures, Forward Pass, MDBF Zweite Filmgesellschaft (Germany), Relativity Media, thinkfilm, Mary Parent, John Cameron, Sarah Aubrey
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“How do you stop an enemy who isn’t afraid to die?”

“The Kingdom,” starring Jamie Foxx (“Dreamgirls,” “Collateral”), Jennifer Garner (“Catch and Release,” “Alias”) and Chris Cooper (“Breach,” “The Bourne Identity”) is one part political thriller, two parts action and three parts riveting!

Set in Saudi Arabia, “The Kingdom” opens with American oil workers and their families enjoying a company baseball game and picnic in a guarded compound. The innocence of this event is snatched up with the intrusion of terrorists who gun down everyone in their sight and continue creating carnage until the damage is so severe it warrants the attention of the F.B.I. back in the states.

Against much opposition from authority, Special Agent Ronald Fluery (played by Foxx) is determined to lead a team of counter-terrorism agents into Saudi Arabia to find the killers and bring them to justice. Fluery soon discovers that arriving in Saudi Arabia with his team of agents is only a small part of the battle as they face continued cultural clashes and bureaucratic obstacles. Just when Fluery and his team finally form an alliance with one of the Saudi police officers and begin making headway in their search for truth, they realize their work of locating the evasive terrorists has just made them the biggest targets of all.

An underlying theme throughout “The Kingdom” is one of a desire for unification between Saudi and American officials. The movie portrays this alliance as strictly being the result of the supplier/consumer relationship that has developed over oil. However, it goes a bit deeper in parts as it shows the distress that the Saudi government feels over the presence of terrorists in its country and gives the audience a more forgiving glance into their world.

Being an action/military movie, this movie is peppered with foul language. A handful of f-words and several other profanities were uttered, but nothing compared to most recent war movies. The violence is pervasive and often graphic, but not gratuitous. It gives the audience a very realistic idea of what takes place when terrorism strikes, but could have been much worse. There is one reference to a female’s chest, but other than that, no sexually-related content at all.

While some audiences may criticize the lack of deep character development in this movie, “The Kingdom” dazzles with its top-notch cast, intense plot and non-stop action. Be prepared to be grabbed from the opening scene and held captive until the closing finale. It’s a fast paced ride!

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments available:
Positive
Positive—Very good movie. It has quite a few f-words and the Lord’s name taken in vain a couple times, but in my opinion it is a very well made movie. Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner are both excellent in this movie. There is quite a bit of violence, but overall it is an outstanding movie.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Stephanie, age 18
Positive—I’ll admit it, “The Kingdom” isn’t an easy movie to watch at times, but I was able to stomach it. The film contains some pretty realistic violence and profanity. Although at times I did feel like I was watching an episode of “24,” “The Kingdom” managed to pull off some light-hearted moments in all the chaos. My favorite of the light-hearted scenes (which I won’t spoil) is the last scene in the film. The message in the movie is clearly about anti-violence. It teaches that as long as the human being resorts to violence to solve their conflicts, the world is truly never going to be at peace. But that’s what Jesus is around for, right?
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Nestor A., age 18
Positive—I saw the film two weeks ago during an advanced sneak preview, and “The Kingdom” is one of the year’s better films. Its underlying message about terrorism strikes at the heart of the story: how to deal with terrorism not only at home, but abroad. Some people have already attacked this movie as being anti-American, but I see it as more of a realistic portrayal of terrorist cells. The ending is well done and by far the best example of editing techniques in a film I’ve seen in a while. This is a must-see.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4½
Christopher Walker, age 26
Positive—I went to see this movie with the mindset that it would be anti-Muslim/Islam, or anti-war of some sort, but it was really anti-inhumanity/hate. It was really refreshing to see that there are people on that side of the world/culture that don’t want to see anymore bloodshed or senseless killings take place. It brought out a good point to see the frustrations that take place when blind hate/politics take precedence over the pursuit of justice and accepctance of the mere existance of different cultures. God’s point of view prevails over us and what we desire to do, 'Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengence is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.' Romans 12:19. Instead, we are called to preach the Gospel to them and in love urge them to understand what it truly means to serve the one true God. Once again, this film shows the reality of a twisted faith that in the words of a persecuted Christian in the Middle East best put the difference: They have a faith they would kill for… I have a God I would die for. There is several instances of language that makes this film not edifing, but that is to be expected, the violence, though graphic and sometimes horrific, is taken in context of the reality of the setting/situation, but it is something that men and women attempting to prevent/solve crimes/wars are exposed to by those whom seek to shed blood to appease their bloodlust. Although there are personalities that are out there on the run, there will come a time that God will execute perfect justice to those who are in violation of His Laws.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Victor Plancarte, age 23
Positive—“The Kingdom” is a must see movie for Americans on the Whole. The ending gives insight into the true confrontations for the public will face. The story is way over most goers heads but if catching subtleties is fun then this will be a gas. There is so, so much that I expounded upon with my kids after this show, the realities of armed conflict the commonalities between two father’s and the finality of loss. Something that is overlooked in this day and just how much we must love our troops. NOT for under 12 but definitely for a “Crash” turn your perspective movie. Enjoy and use those opportunities. Pat
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Patrick, age 36
Positive—This movie is not one to base solely on what is shown from the trailers or on what other people have said. That also isn’t left without being said there is a lot of language and violence. For the type of movie it was, it was brilliant. The casting was great, the plot was fantastic, but again the crudeness of the movie may get in the way of the great message this movie passes on. (small spoiler alert possibly) The movie was pretty much anti-war. Only because of the fact, they only know what they are told about us. We only know what our news tells us about them. But none of us really know any of them personally. Aside from religion, they might actually be nice people. It really is jsut the extremists we have to be careful of. Great movie, would have been better without the language. No sexual content hardly at all, if any.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Bryan, age 18
Positive—There’s no candy coating the fact that this movie is chock full of both violence and language. However, if you can get past this, you’ll see a little bit of reality as to what terrorism is about at its heart in the middle east. They do take a little bit of license with people’s roles in the FBI, because it’s not often that desk and forensic agents take to the field and behave like a SWAT team, but it does keep the movie moving along. Despite the sadness of the movie overall, I liked it up until the last couple of lines of the movie where both the antagonist (Jamie Foxx) and protagonist (small arab child) express their desire to kill their enemies. I didn’t like the equivalence made between them because their reasons and motivation are worlds apart. I enjoyed the movie overall and was moved by the story. While the characterizations weren’t deep, they did develop realistically.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Bruce, age 43
Positive—I thought this was an excellent film. Although the film was extremely violent and was laced with foul language (which merrits the very offensive rating), it really depicted the true reason for war and terror—hate. Not the differences in religion, or oil, or nationality—but hate. The action was intense, there was more than one occasion when I had to look away. Very good acting. No sex or nudity.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Laurel, age 23
Neutral
Neutral—If I had to describe this movie in one word, it would be VIOLENT! I will say, however, that “The Kingdom” was very well made, and very well acted. Also, being a Hollywood film, I was expecting some anti-war messages; but I was pleasantly surprised. On that same note, however, this movie was certainly a wake up call as to some of the things our soldiers endure on a daily basis—and how much we should be praying and supporting them.

The movie was close to the most violent movie I have ever seen and it had it’s share of the f-words in it too. I would consider the violence extreme, the language heavy, and the overall rating as very offensive. A very sobering movie—and yet very well made.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—Amanda, age 23
Neutral—Action packed, good filming, acting pretty good, some of characters better than others. Showed history of oil in Mideast. I thought that was interesting. In terms of war and terrorism, the movie dissappointed me somewhat. It seemed to take a neutral stance on terror, and even bordered in the beginning on saying terrorism is bad. However, they depicted that President Bush was in on an illegal event begun by troops who had friends die and just wanted revenge. Depicted the Attorney General as being bought by politics when he wanted to blow the whistle. And the very end scene, showed a dying terrorist leader, speaking to his son/daughter. He is shown whispering, and then they pan to the American asking his comrade what he had spoken in another comrade’s ear. Then it pans again to the terrorist saying, “Don’t worry honey, we will kill them all.” And then continuing into the American saying, “we will kill them all.” I felt offended after a couple of minutes when I realized they were making a huge statement here. Equating us as the same as the terrrorists. Psalms 37:4
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Greg T, age 45
Comments from young people
Neutral—“The Kingdom” was a very surprising movie to me. Surprising in the sense that it wasn’t all that good. With the all star cast that it had, I would have expected a little more screen time for Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper; instead, the whole movie was Jamie Foxx. Not that he is a bad actor or anything of the sort, on the contrary, he does an amazing job. But the other 2 could have played much bigger roles than they did.

Content-wise, most of the lines Garner uses are peppered with F-words, and Cooper’s with God D****, that a muslim cop asks him to wash his mouth. Also, at the beginning of the movie, when Garner is crying, Foxx whispers something in her ear that calms her down. It ends up these words are the same ones a dying muslim terrorist used: “Don’t worry, we’ll kill them all.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Steve, age 15
Comments from non-viewers
I would consider viewing this movie even with the violence. I would consider viewing this movie even with the profanity, but I would NOT consider viewing this movie because one reviewer pointed out it takes the Lord’s name in vain several times in the script. How can we as Christians keep going to see movies that openly mock our God. I don’t know about you, but my stomach does an instant turn when I hear anything like that in a movie and off goes the TV or out the door I go from the theatre before the movie is out. This has become a real problem in scripts rated PG, PG-13 and R—almost nothing is safe anymore. Thanks to the reviewer who pointed this out.
—Gretchen, age 44